Researchers have found that strengthening the self-regulatory skills of students with significant behavior problems improves their ability to effectively monitor and manage their behaviors and emotions. Further, previous research has also established that executive function skills, which include the cognitive abilities of working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control, contribute to the effective management of behaviors and emotions. I Control is designed to improve the executive function skills of adolescents at-risk for or exhibiting emotional and behavioral disorders while also providing explicit instruction in the components that make up self-regulation to improve student outcomes.
This intensive, teacher-delivered curriculum consists of 46 lessons distributed across four units, with each lesson lasting approximately 30-40 minutes. Unit 1 provides students an introduction to I Control and executive function, while Units 2, 3, and 4 provide explicit instruction in goal setting, emotion regulation, and social problem solving, all of which are designed to help students develop self-regulation skills. I Control also has an supplemental computerized training regimen (Brain Training Lab) designed to provide direct practice on cognitive tasks (executive function), student self-monitoring, and teacher progress monitoring. Students are to engage in Brain Training Lab tasks for 20-30 minutes weekly to strengthen working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control abilities.
In addition to initial professional development sessions, teachers are provided support via web-based resources (e.g., lesson-specific content acquisition podcasts) and ongoing implementation assistance. Results from a pilot study indicated that I Control successfully taught students with significant behavior problems to self-regulate their emotions and improve their social skills, resulting in fewer teacher-reported behavior concerns, providing promising evidence that I Control improves key social-behavioral outcomes.
A middle school teacher describes implementing I Control.
Stephen W. Smith, Ph.D. describes the I Control curriculum
This short video is meant for special education teachers who might be interested in becoming a study participant in our federally-funded research project on the effects of the I Control curriculum for middle school students who exhibit emotional and behavioral disorders. The video provides an overview of our research process and what is required of participating teachers and students.
This video was created as part of the Council for Exceptional Children’s “Research Matters” initiative to collect stories about how research in special education and related fields is making a difference for exceptional children, people with disabilities, and their families.